Hydrolysis of a two-membered silica ring on the amorphous silica surface

J Chem Phys. 2004 Jan 8;120(2):1044-54. doi: 10.1063/1.1630026.


We have combined density functional theory (DFT) with classical interatomic potential functions to model hydrolysis of amorphous silica surfaces. The water-silica interaction is described by DFT with incorporation of a long-range elastic field described by classical interatomic potentials. Both physisorption and chemisorption of water on a surface site, known as the two-membered silica ring, are studied in detail. The hybrid quantum-mechanical and classical mechanical method enables more realistic treatment of chemical processes on an extended surface than previous methods. We have studied cooperative events in the hydrolytic reactions and discovered a new reaction pathway that involves a double proton transfer process. In addition, the evaluation of the total energy in a hybrid quantum-mechanical and classical mechanical system is discussed.